Eightbar grouper (Epinephelus octofasciatus)

Eightbar grouper specimen, faded colours
Loading more images and videos...

Eightbar grouper fact file

Eightbar grouper description

GenusEpinephelus (1)

The eightbar grouper (Epinephelus octofasciatus) owes its name quite simply to the presence of eight, broad, dark-brown bars that cross its body from the nape to the caudal fin. A faint brown band also runs from the eye to the operculum, while the rest of its robust body is largely buff in colour. The pelvic fins, the latter half of the anal fins and the spiny dorsal fin are blackish brown (2) (3).

Also known as
Convict grouper, convict rockcod.
Epinephelus compressus.
Merou Bagnard.
Mero Carcelario.
Max length: at least 1,300 mm (1)

Eightbar grouper biology

Very little is known about the biology of the eightbar grouper (1), but like other Epinephelus species, it is probably a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that individuals begin mature life as female and change sex later to become male (2). Epinephelus species tend to be voracious predators, with fish and crustaceans taken near the sea bottom forming the bulk of prey (2) (4). The maximum lifespan of the eightbar grouper has been estimated at 56 years (1).


Eightbar grouper range

The eightbar grouper has an Indo-West Pacific distribution ranging from South Africa to the Arabian Gulf, east to Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia and the islands of the Western Pacific (1) (2).


Eightbar grouper habitat

Favours deep rocky reefs, the eightbar grouper is found from depths of 150 to 300 metres (1) (2).


Eightbar grouper status

The eightbar grouper is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Eightbar grouper threats

The eightbar grouper is threatened by commercial, and probably recreational, fisheries, particularly in Western Australia, but the extent of the impact is not known. Although it is seemingly rare throughout its range, its abundance might be underestimated owing to its preference for deeper waters (1).


Eightbar grouper conservation

Further research into the eightbar grouper’s reproductive biology, population size and its involvement in fisheries is crucial to accurately assessing its conservation status (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi is a principal sponsor of ARKive. EAD is working to protect and conserve the environment as well as promoting sustainable development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Find out more

For further information on the conservation of groupers: 



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



Anal fins
In fish, an unpaired fin on the under surface of a fish, behind the anus.
Caudal fin
The tail fin of a fish, used for steering, balancing or propulsion.
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
A hard, bony flap that covers and protects the gill slits of fish.
Pelvic fins
In fish, the pair of fins found on the underside of the body.
Protogynous hermaphrodite
An animal that begins its life cycle as a female. As the animal ages, based on internal or external triggers, it shifts sex to become a male animal.


  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2011)
  2. Heemstra, P.C. and Randall, J.E. (1993) FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16: Groupers of the World. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome.
  3. Rome, B., Newman, S.J., Jackson, G. and Norriss, J. (2007) Gascoyne Wetline Fish Identification Field Guide. Department of Fisheries, Perth, Western Australia.
  4. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Image credit

Eightbar grouper specimen, faded colours  
Eightbar grouper specimen, faded colours

© John E. Randall

Dr. John E. Randall


Link to this photo

Arkive species - Eightbar grouper (Epinephelus octofasciatus) Embed this Arkive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to Arkive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about



MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite Arkive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in Jewels of the UAE, which showcases biodiversity found in the United Arab Emirates in association with the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!


Back To Top